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Teamsters, Rail Conference demand crackdown on cheap Korean steel imports

CLEVELAND, June 11 — Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and top leaders with the Teamsters Rail Conference are calling on the Department of Commerce to fully weigh the concerns of the U.S. steel industry as it continues its anti-dumping probe into cheap imports being brought into this country by South Korea and eight other nations.

In a letter sent to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker dated June 5, Hoffa was joined by Teamsters Rail Conference President Dennis Pierce, President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), and Freddie Simpson, president of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED), in raising objections to a preliminary ruling regarding Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) imported into the U.S.

The Teamsters join the United Steelworkers, the U.S. Steel Corporation and the Alliance for American Manufacturing in voicing concerns about the ongoing investigation.

OCTG production is a critical segment of the steel industry and helps provide solid middle-class jobs to several sectors, including the 70,000 members of the BLET and BMWED. But those are threatened when others are allowed to dump cheap product in the U.S. OCTG imports have doubled since 2008 and Korea is responsible for almost half of the increase.

“American steel producers employ 8,000 workers across the country making OCTG and each of those jobs supports seven more in the supply chain,” Hoffa, Pierce and Simpson wrote. “The steel produced for the U.S. energy market accounts for ten percent of domestic production. It is imperative that American OCTG producers have a level playing field on which to compete.”

Noting that the agency is set to make a final ruling next month, the Teamsters urged Pritzker to devote “all available resources” to make sure the information sought from the countries being investigated is accurate. Hoffa, Pierce and Simpson also suggested that Commerce officials review and revise its preliminary decision so that it incorporates “the true costs of production and profit margins among the Korean producers of high-end OCTG pipes.”

A copy of the letter is available on the BLET National Division website.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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